Cross-marketing your wellness program

It has been more than two months since we rang in the New Year, scrawled out a handful of resolutions, pulled on our snow boots and headed out the door for a new start in 2014. Have you kept to your resolutions? Were they lofty? Will you make it to spring before you break one/all/none of them?

Over the last six weeks, New York City has been blasted by 14 winter storms. This weather has made it even more challenging to be recreationally active, and as a kid who grew up in Chicago, I couldn’t be more receptive to an early spring arriving.

Setting aside the global-warming debate, these weather patterns have placed a strain on road warriors’ capacity to adequately maintain their health and wellness regimens while traveling. With a greater focus on fitness and nutrition, several hotel companies have developed well-thought-out programs to better meet their customers’ health and wellness expectations. Several of these programs have been created in partnership with notable/visible brands in the marketplace, enabling the hotel company the ability to cross-promote their brand’s wellness program with greater reach and effectiveness. (I’m going to focus on the larger brands versus individual/independent properties.)

Even Hotels: Keep active. Rest easy. Eat well. Accomplish More.

The first I learned of the “first wellness brand” recently launched by IHG was over the holidays as I was researching this subject. With two operating properties (Norwalk, Connecticut, and Rockville, Maryland) and two in the pipeline (both in New York City), it will be interesting to see how much traction this brand gains in the hearts and wallets of America’s hotel development community and, ultimately, the end users.

Kimpton Hotels: Live and be well

Kimpton has been on the forefront of guest (and employee) wellness since its inception, which, in my opinion, probably has a lot to do with its California roots. The company’s Road Warrior program incorporates a medley of fun, physical activities available to all guests, including Public Bikes at each hotel, a yoga mat in every room and jump ropes and hula hoops, in addition to the free on-demand fitness TV in the guestrooms.

Westin | New Balance: Let’s make excellent happen.

Westin Hotels & Resorts has forged a strategic partnership with New Balance to provide guests a no-nonsense means of getting workouts in while on the road without having to pack bulky shoes and apparel. They call it “gear lending,” and it’s a pretty ambitious idea.

This groundbreaking partnership goes beyond the front-of-house space at the Westin properties, as the company’s Workplace Enrichment program is made up of three components:  

  • SuperFoodsRx: Nutrient-rich dishes that cultivate “food synergy” while at work
  • WestinWorkout: An extension of the guest-oriented programs with a focus on developing healthy living practices at home and at work
  • Breathe: A smoke-free policy that has Westin committed to adopting innovative techniques and practices to provide clean air and healthy environments for both its guests and its associates

This brand’s dedication speaks wonders about an organization that cares not only about its consumers, but also about those who support and service those guests on a daily basis.

Trump | Under Armour: Live the life, but live it well

Last summer, The Trump Hotel Collection launched its “triad of programs designated to support each guest’s healthy lifestyle.”

  • Nourish: A complete overhaul of its food and beverage offerings, including partnerships with organic food-certifying companies; an enhanced in-room dining program replete with vegan, gluten-free and organic selections, all with accompanying nutritional information; a health-oriented kids program; and improved minibar options that focus on the health food category
  • Quick Bites: In-room options that target on-the-go travelers that are delivered to the guestroom within 15 minutes, guaranteed
  • Travel Fit: In partnership with Under Armour (similar to the relationship between Westin and New Balance), guests can leave their workout gear at home and borrow fitness apparel and footwear complemented by the iPod Shuffles that are preloaded with the guest’s particular musical preferences

Gansevoort | Exhale: Revive. Restore. Exhale.

Here at Gansevoort Hotel Group, we have been fortunate to have forged a great partnership with Exhale Enterprises, a recognized operator of wellness centers offering “unparalleled, transformational mind-body programs within an inspiring yet relaxing sanctuary” with a distinct focus on women’s health.

Not only has Exhale’s presence at each of our properties been accretive to the operations, the cross-branding/marketing opportunities have been a driving force behind the successes of each business. At our urban locations, Exhale’s studio draws in hotel guests while in residence, but is primarily made up of local residents, drawing in foot traffic to the properties that would not have ordinarily entered the building. The programs offered by Exhale include award-winning Core Fusion and yoga classes that are excellent complements to the gym and fitness centers at our properties, enabling travelers to maintain their balanced wellness regimens on the road.

At our resort destination in Turks + Caicos, Exhale has developed tailored retreats/programs during the property’s shoulder/off-peak seasons that target clients of their urban locations in New York City and beyond — there are 20 locations currently open in 11 global cities with two additional studios in the pipeline.

Our ability to promote Exhale, and vice versa, has been a win-win relationship for Gansevoort, further strengthening the appeal of each brand together while also maintaining individuality.

While staying motivated to keep up a health and wellness regimen can be especially difficult during the winter months, I am excited to know that our industry is taking big strides in making it easier for you to stick to your program while on the road. Thus far, I have done my best to stick to my newfound interest in yoga, so I’ve taken it up a notch and am exploring the explosive growth of “juicing.” Push yourself a little to stick to something that’s good for you and will make you feel better from day to day — there’s always room for improvement!

Those summer months are less than 100 days away …